GE agriculture and genetic pollution
The introduction of genetically engineered (GE) organisms into the complex ecosystems of our environment is a dangerous global experiment with nature and evolution.
Greenpeace Thai activists seal off the GE papaya at the Khon Kaen agricultural research station of the Department of Agriculture.
Genetic scientists are altering life itself. The products of geneticengineering are living organisms that could never have evolvednaturally and do not have a natural habitat.
These human-made organisms can reproduce and interbreed with naturalorganisms, thereby spreading to new environments and future generationsin an unpredictable and uncontrollable way. Because we know so littleabout how these novel organisms will act in the environment, andbecause these living organisms can multiply and spread, the potentiallyharmful effects of GE organisms may only be discovered when it is toolate.
For these reasons, GE organisms (or GMOs - genetically modifiedorganisms) must not be released into the environment. They poseunacceptable risks to ecosystems, and threaten biodiversity, wildlifeand sustainable forms of agriculture.
GE organisms are a threat to crop diversity
Crop genetic diversity is critical to the continuing development ofvarieties resistant to new pests, diseases, and changing climatic andenvironmental conditions. In this way, diversity is essential forglobal food security. The lack of genetic diversity, in fact, can belinked to many of the major crop epidemics in human history.
As recently as 1970 the maize crop in the southern US was attackedby a disease called Southern corn leaf blight. Because of geneticuniformity among the maize varieties grown across the US, the loss tothis disease was great - in total 15 percent of its harvest - at thetime worth around US$1 billion.
According to botanist Jack Harlan, genetic diversity is all that"stands between us and catastrophic starvation on a scale we can notimagine".
GE companies threaten farmers' livelihoods
If threatening biodiversity wasn't enough, the biotech giants makefarmers pay for the privilege of using these human-made organisms.Farmers in North America and Latin America, where most of the world'sGE agriculture is, must sign a contract that specifies that if theysave the seeds to plant again the following year or use any herbicideother than the corporation's own, they are likely to be prosecuted.
However as awareness increases and consumers and farmers mobiliseacross the planet the threat of GE crops and industrial agriculture canbe stopped.
Hope for rejection in the world
Monsanto retreat continues in Australia
Victory: Monsanto drops GE Wheat
GE Crops - Increasingly Isolated as Awareness and Rejection Grow